Jerod Estey making return to baseball

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Jerod Estey had a plan.

He was going to play baseball for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for four years.

Then he would declare for the draft and sign with the Major League Baseball team that drafted him.

That plan was in phase one during Estey's freshman year at UNLV in the fall of 2003.

"I had a conversation with my coach, and he said I was going to play in a couple of games every series," the 2003 graduate of Moffat County High School said. "I was pretty happy to have a chance to play as a true freshman in a D-I program."

Two days later Estey would have to figure out a plan B.

That was when he felt a twinge in his shoulder and then it popped out of place.

"My shoulder had popped out of place in high school," he said. "But this time it took a chunk of bone with it."

The injury meant surgery and it also meant that he would be out of baseball for the rest of the school year.

"I would have had to take a medical redshirt at UNLV," he said. "I didn't want to waste a redshirt, so I left. It was nothing against UNLV because it was a great school and a great program."

Estey had three pins placed in his shoulder in December and spent the next five months rehabilitating in Craig.

During his rehabilitation, the 2002 Denver Post Class 4A Baseball Player of the Year searched for his next opportunity.

"If I entered junior college, then I would be eligible for the draft again and I could play right away in the fall," he said. "I had several offers and I decided CNCC (Colorado Northwestern Community College) was the best option."

Estey said a couple factors that helped him decide on CNCC were that his family could watch him play and that the team plays in a competitive league that attracts Major League scouts.

After a year off, Estey said he was a bit nervous in his first games back in the fall. His anxiety only seemed to help. He went 4-for-8 in his first doubleheader for the Spartans. He batted near .400 the rest of the fall.

CNCC played 12 games in the fall and Estey said he was pleasantly surprised with the talent on the team.

"They've put together a solid team," he said. "We will be competitive in the best wood-bat league in the country."

The Philadelphia Phillies drafted Estey after his senior year in high school in the 44th round of the amateur draft. Once he joined UNLV, the Phillies lost their rights to Estey.

Estey's ultimate goal is to be drafted again. But first things first.

The spring season will begin for the Spartans with a trip to Las Vegas on Jan. 28. Estey will return to his original baseball destination with similar goals, but with a different uniform.

"My goals this season are to stay healthy and have a solid year," he said. "We'll see where it goes from there."

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